As Public Relations Fundamentals II comes to an end, I have been asked to comment on three key learnings I will take away from this course.
- The importance of keeping up with current events – Keeping up with local, national and international news is vital in this line of work. I will be far more of an asset to my future employer by knowing what’s going on in the world around me. We’ve had many In the News Today class discussions and I wasn’t able to comment as much as I would have liked. Tools such as media/blog monitoring service, Feedly will help me as I go forward.
- Research is vital- Quality research should be the foundation of any plan, communications or other. With the proper research one can develop strategy to facilitate organizational objectives. I did have a working knowledge of this concept; but it is now that the learning has really sunk in. At times, the right side of my brain is in overdrive wanting to skip more creative aspects of a project. I need to remind myself to exercise the left side of my brain more to put my creative thoughts to best use afterwards.
- Crisis Communication Planning – Every organization, no matter the size should have a crisis communications plan in place. Timing is everything. Public perception can drastically change for the worse in no time at all. Choosing to not address the situation is definitely NOT the way to go. Deleting any form of public communications that have previously been made is NOT the way to go. If any organization’s will be released pending investigation – let the public know! Organization’s need to control the message and be as forthcoming as they can.
I also learned a lot about the Public Relations process from the communications pitch we presented to members of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This was my first experience bidding on a project for a perspective client. I took so much away from this project. I became more knowledgable on human rights issues and gained a greater sense of self-awareness. I learned a lot about different group dynamics and how to compromise in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible prior to this project. I saw first hand how the art of Public Relations and Marketing work hand in hand – presentation is everything. One can have the nicest gift to offer, yet it can be drastically undervalued if it is not wrapped properly. Details matter, big or small they can be the pitfall(s) to an otherwise sound plan. This project taught me the importance of seeking knowledge on a granular level so that the only question the client is asking is “Do you agree with the terms of this contract?”